I recently returned from a visit in January 2014, to the Relief Camps at Muzaffarnagar, U.P – where thousands of displaced people affected by the recent communal riots are taking refuge. Even months after the incidents, perpetrators are still at large, and people in the camps still suffer from lack of even basic amenities. The refugees were provided some warm clothes and ration by our group, and a few medical camps were set up.
Of all the heart-wrenching scenes, the sub-human conditions that people are living under in the camps – the most troubling for me is the condition of the children there; innocent lives caught up in the politics of communalism and fascism, in the violence of those who think that the country belongs to them and suffering under the apathy of an insensitive government. I wonder what future they shall have, if they manage to survive the present.
Though perhaps these people shall still somehow survive and move on with what is left of their lives – I wish we could ensure that politics of hate, fear, polarization and ethno-nationalism shall never survive in our country, whatever symbols or achievements they hide under. Yet still, I don’t know if the children’s scars shall ever heal, or if our hearts and our minds shall ever heal of the scars of the partition, polarization and communalism. These broken lives represent our broken society and broken consciences.
These are a few images of life in the camps for the children of Muzaffarnagar. For our ‘viewing pleasure’.
(Photos taken by Sajid Hussain)